= Menu

Smoking Cessation with Acupuncture

We recently received this testimonial and felt it warranted its own blog post. Many people are aware of acupuncture's efficacy in treating pain or some internal medical problems. Most, however, are not aware of how incredibly helpful acupuncture can be in helping someone break an addiction, such as smoking. In fact, there is a long history in this country of using acupuncture to do just that, and you can learn more about the history of "acudetox" at this link. Read about our client's experience with acupuncture for smoking cessation below:

"I’m 28 years old and have been smoking cigarettes since I was 17. I’ve always hated this vice for obvious reasons and felt a lot of shame for not being able to put them down. I’ve been trying to stop since I was 24 years old. Four years of making it a day or two and then ultimately giving into unbearable cravings. Friends of mine, who once joined me outdoors, were smoke free and living much healthier lives. I knew I wanted to quit and I knew Zach, Rachel and Sarah could help. I’ve been coming on and off to Acupuncture Partners for a few years now for help with anxiety, acne problems, to fighting off colds and headaches. Acupuncture has been a diamond in the rough for me. I was told when I’m ready to stop smoking let them know.

My last day of smoking was on Monday, March 5th, 2018. I smoked an entire pack knowing the following day, I was going to have the day off and could go see Zach for a treatment. I’ve tried to quit before, and I was well aware of the battle to come. I wanted to be prepared. Tuesday came and I was miserable. I woke up wanting a cigarette with my coffee. Driving in the car I wanted a cigarette. I was going nuts!!! I couldn’t concentrate on anything. It was difficult to even hold a conversation. I wanted a cigarette so badly. But I wanted to be done even more. Finally, my appointment had come and I told Zach about my goal and how much discomfort I was in. He immediately went to work and I was so happy I went. On the table I felt calm and the craving noises in my head quieted down. The anxiety decompressed, not entirely, but enough where I felt it was very manageable. I left feeling good and nervous. I was telling people I’m quitting smoking!!! I didn’t want to give in and fail. Again!

Zach recommended I come see them twice in that week to help curb the worst of the withdrawals. I was totally fine with that. And then weekly visits until I felt I had it. I’m writing this on my one month cigarette-free day. One month to someone might not sound like much. To a heavy pack + a day smoker, like myself, it’s a pretty big deal! I am proud of myself. I am unbelievably grateful for the support and care and words of wisdom, advice, everything, Zach and Rachel and Sarah offered. They never for a moment made me feel judged or uncomfortable. They offer a very nurturing, safe, serene environment where you feel nothing but good energy. I could not have done this without their support and I’m so happy they are there for me! I have tried medications, the gum, the patch, cold turkey on my own. Nothing worked out. I remembered Zach and Rachel telling me to let them know when I want to quit... wouldn’t you know it, they were right! This is what helped me and keeps helping me. I strongly suggest giving it a go. Thank you guys!!!"

Grief and Related Symptoms

This is the first in a series of posts related to acupuncture and grief.

You’ve probably heard that acupuncture is helpful for healing physical pain like back pain, sciatica, or headaches, but did you know that acupuncture can address emotional pain, too?  

Acupuncture and Holistic Healing

Many people don’t realize that acupuncture is a complete, holistic system of medicine, of which the mind-body-spirit connection is an integral part. The goal of treatment is to bring balance to the entire system for overall health and wellness.

From this point of view, emotions have a significant impact on the physical body, and TEAM (Traditional East Asian Medicine) actually acknowledges them as one of the main causes of disease. (It goes the other way, too: physical imbalances can affect our emotions.) Emotions are powerful, and they serve an important purpose. It is when they get stuck for a long period of time that they cause problems.

The Lungs and Grief

This post will focus on the Lung organ system and the associated emotion of grief. (Check out this post to learn more about the organ systems in TEAM.)

Physical manifestations of grief can include:

  • Respiratory System: Asthma, breathing issues, tight chest
  • Skin: eczema, rashes; dry, oily, or itchy skin
  • Nose: Frequent congestion, allergies, runny nose
  • Immune System: weak or overactive immune system, allergies, issues with boundaries


The Lungs and other Organ Systems

Different from Western Medicine, where systems of the body are seen as separate from each other (think: seeing a gastroenterologist for digestive difficulty, a cardiac specialist for circulatory issues, or a therapist for anxiety and depression), the organ systems in TEAM are interrelated (all three of the above issues can be addressed in the same acupuncture treatment, often coming from a single root cause). When there is a shift in one part of the body, change occurs somewhere else, too.  

With grief, the Lungs are often most affected and common symptoms will be similar to those described above. But because the Lungs affect and are affected by other systems of the body, there are various issues that might arise with grief, especially over a period of time.

Some of the organ systems and symptoms that are closely related to the Lungs are:

  • Large Intestine: The Large Intestine is the other organ belonging to the Metal element, and is in charge of letting go. Physically, imbalances here can manifest as constipation or diarrhea; mentally or emotionally it can be our inability to let things go--thoughts or belief systems, resentment, holding onto the past.
  • Spleen: The Spleen is the crux of digestion in TEAM, and a variety of digestive issues are likely show up when the Spleen is imbalanced, including bloating, sugar cravings, and food intolerances. The emotional component of the Spleen is overthinking or worry.
  • Liver: The Liver governs the free flow of Qi (energy, vital life force, circulation) in the body. Some common symptoms that show up when the Liver is affected are headaches, OB/GYN issues, circulation issues, and pain or tension in the muscles. The emotion associated with the Liver system is anger.  
  • Kidney: The Lung and Kidney systems work together to regulate breathing (more specifically, the Kidneys are involved when there is trouble inhaling as opposed to exhaling) and hormones. The Kidneys rule the joints, especially the knees and low back. The emotional component of the Kidneys is fear.

                                                                                                                                                This is just the tip of the iceberg, but the take-home point is that there can be widespread effects from one seemingly straightforward emotion such as grief. The good news is that acknowledging this and addressing our being as a whole, rather than the independent parts, will bring balance and healing in a shorter amount of time.

It also offers us an opportunity to become aware of these connections and weave this wisdom into our own personal healing practices...More on that next time!

Reiki Circle Reflections

It’s been six months since our inaugural Reiki Circle, it’s time for some reflection!

The inspiration for a monthly Reiki Circle came to me over two years ago, but it took almost a year and a half to develop the right setting and delivery of this form of Reiki. I have never seen anyone practice Reiki in the way I was envisioning, and wasn’t sure what to expect.

I wanted to offer Reiki in a group setting, because the energy of multiple people in a healing space together is very powerful. The cherry on top turned out to be adding a guided meditation to the experience. When practicing Reiki, especially remote healing, I am sent on a journey complete with visualizations and tactile sensations. Sharing this experience with others (by leading a guided meditation) turned out to make all the difference while offering Reiki in a group. Individuals were able to go on their own journey within themselves, while simultaneously being immersed in the collective healing energy of the group.

So last fall I took the plunge, e-mailed all my Reiki lovers and created a Meetup group. The first circle was small, but very powerful. I was amazed at the response. Every month since then the group has grown, we gather with a mix of both new faces and dedicated Reiki Circle go-ers who don’t miss a meeting.

Every session starts with the delicate sounds of the quartz singing bowl, and from there the Reiki starts to flow and we are transported to a beautiful space of healing and transformation. The bulk of the meditation is focused on a specific intention for the day, which is different every month--working with a particular chakra, element, emotion, mantra, or idea. Included are visualizations and exercises to bring awareness to physical, mental, or emotional sensations that often go unnoticed in our bodies.

As the circle comes to a close and the singing bowl gently brings everyone back to the present moment, it is a real gift for me to watch every person slowly open their eyes, visibly relaxed with a soft smile on their face. Refreshed, like they had just woken from a deep, restorative sleep. Everyone leaves a little lighter than when they came in.

Every month, I look forward to sharing this with others. The Reiki Circle offers a gentle introduction to Reiki for those who are not familiar with it. And for the more experienced, this is a chance to practice in a new way.

I hope you join us next month!

More information about the Reiki Circle, and upcoming meetings here on the Meetup site.

Reiki Circle Reflections,

A Balanced Spring Diet

The last blog post talked about using the spring energy to assist us in planning and goal-setting, our vision in life. In this post, we’ll talk about how you can incorporate the element of wood into your diet this spring to maximize your health.

The movement of the wood element and springtime is upward and outward. Everything comes alive--plants sprout up from the ground, animals come out of hibernation, people spend more time outside walking, running, or playing in the sun. To make a smooth and healthy transition into the spring, it is best to adjust our diet to reflect these changes in the environment.

We want to eat foods that are light and fresh, that will support us in moving our bodies as the weather gets warmer. More specifically, our diet should consist of foods that have an expansive quality and will support our Liver, the organ system that is associated with the wood element and spring.

A Balanced Spring Diet,

What should you eat?

Lots of fresh vegetables! Limit heavy, processed, fried foods, and excessive amounts of dairy as they are denser foods with downward and stagnating qualities. Remember, this time of year is all about movement and expansiveness.

Sprouts: Is there any better way to be in harmony with the environment and the sprouting plants of spring than by putting them right in your body?

Eat things like:                                                                                                                       • Alfalfa sprouts, mung bean sprouts, sprouted grains
Here's some more information on sprouting your own grains at home.

Green foods: Green is the color associated with the Liver/Wood system. By eating lots of green things, we are aligning ourselves with the energy of the spring.                            

Eat things like:                                                                                                                       • Kale, dandelion/collard/mustard greens

Pungent and Sweet foods: These flavors are expansive in nature, and will support the increased movement of the spring.

Eat things like:                                                                                                                       • Sweet flavor: Sweet potato, beets, cabbage                                                                     • Pungent flavor: Horseradish, ginger, black pepper

Small amounts of Sour foods: Sour is the flavor that is associated with the Liver system and Wood element and will help to balance these systems in the body.

Eat things like:                                                                                                                       • Citrus fruits (a slice of lemon or tablespoon of raw Apple Cider Vinegar with warm water in the morning), vinegar, pickles

Herbs to support the Wood Element within your body:                                                       • Mint, Rosemary, Fennel, Basil, Dill

Try to incorporate some of these things into your daily eating habits, and notice how you feel.

Happy Spring!

Spring: A Time for Growth

Spring is ALMOST here, it’s so close we can feel it. The rainy and snowy weather this week has been keeping some people down, both physically and emotionally. So I’m going to let you in on a little secret to help usher in the spring energy.

In TEAM (Traditional East Asian Medicine), every season is associated with an element. The spring is all about the element of Wood.

Think fresh, new plant life bursting up from the earth after lying dormant all winter long under the hard, frozen ground.

Think movement, growth, inspiration, expansion.

Spring: A Time for Growth,

The Wood element is in charge of vision and planning in your life.                              

What is it that you want to do?                                                                                       What steps will you need to take to get there?

That’s what the Wood element is all about--coming up with a clear plan so that you can set and accomplish your goals in life. And because the spring season is ruled by this element, it means that this energy is heightened and more easily accessed than at other times of the year. Take advantage of it! Use all of the wisdom and insight you gained from the winter to plan ahead for the future. 

Do you want a new job or promotion at work? Do you want to remodel your house? Do you want to start a meditation practice? Run a marathon? Learn a new skill? Take a trip?

Now is the time to set a vision for what that goal will look like and the steps you will take towards making it a reality!

 

If you are still feeling slow and sluggish as we come out of the winter, look for the next blog post when we will talk about some more ways that you can embrace the energy of Wood within your body with food and lifestyle changes.

New Year, New Nourished You: Eating Seasonally in the Winter

For many people, New Year’s resolutions include trying to be healthier, eat better, or lose weight. A popular trend is to choose a detox or cleanse program to reach these goals. But, these are not always the best choice for the winter season. Read on to find out why, and what you can do instead!

You may be surprised to learn that your diet should change depending on the time of year. This idea goes way back to a time before packaged foods or refrigeration. People ate what was available, depending on the time of year and what environment they were in. Here in the Northeast, there is not much vegetation in the wintertime. Animal meat was a primary source of food, and the diet included more fat and calorie dense food to survive the winter.

That’s all well and good, but what does it mean for us living in the modern world? In the viewpoint of TEAM (Traditional East Asian Medicine), eating foods that are in season will help to keep us in optimum health, in sync with the cycles of nature. In the winter, our diet should be predominantly warm and nourishing, to balance the cold weather outside.

We have been hard-wired to believe that if we want to be healthy, salads, raw vegetables, and morning smoothies are the best way to go--regardless of the time of year. But, if we look through this lens of seasonal eating, that’s not really the case. In fact, eating a lot of these things can be less than beneficial for many people, especially if you are prone to digestive issues, feeling cold, or fatigue.

I’ve experienced this first hand. Some years ago, in an effort to be “healthier” in the new year, I started juicing in the morning. After about a week, I had daily headaches and diarrhea. I shifted my focus from trying to cleanse my body of all its “toxins” to nourishing my body and giving it what it needed to feel warm and comforted. And sure enough, after changing my diet (and my mindset) I started to feel better and stronger, feeling the healing happening from the inside.

(There is a time for gentle cleansing and detox, which is the springtime. We’ll talk more about that in another blog post when the time comes.)

New Year, New Nourished You: Eating Seasonally in the Winter,

Here are some ways you can incorporate seasonal eating into your life:

Include more:

  • Cooked foods (try roasting your vegetables rather than eating them raw)
  • Soups, stews, and homemade bone broth
  • Healthy fats: grass-fed butter and meat, coconut and olive oils, nuts
  • Root vegetables: carrots, parsnips, turnips, sweet potatoes
  • Warming spices: pepper, ginger, cinnamon, fennel, garlic, cloves
  • Black beans and navy beans
  • Hot tea/warm beverages
  • Small amounts of salty things: seaweed, miso soup
    (Salt is grounding and centering, bringing warmth deeper into our bodies during the winter months.)

Limit:

  • Cold foods and drinks: Ice cream, yogurt, smoothies, iced coffee
  • Raw Foods: raw vegetables/salads, sushi


Try shifting your attention and intention this new year: think about NOURISHING your body, rather than CLEANSING it. Live in harmony with the energy of the season; your body will thank you for it.  

Winter: A Time for Slowing Down

The holiday season is officially upon us, and for many people this means stress levels are high--gifts need to be bought, travel and holiday arrangements need to be made, family issues may surface. We often get so caught up in the hustle and bustle that we forget to make time to care for ourselves.

Let’s take a look through the lens of TEAM (Traditional East Asian Medicine) to see just what that means in these cold winter months.

In a previous post, we talked about the season of autumn and the importance of letting go of unnecessary thought patterns, habits, ideas or beliefs. Now that we are moving into winter, it’s time to go inward and use that space we have created from letting go, to find deep peace and stillness in our lives. Take a look at the natural world around: plants are dormant, the trees have shed all of their leaves, animals are going into hibernation, the days are short and the nights are cold. Everything is sleeping, resting, replenishing; preparing to come alive again in the spring.

This time of year we should consolidate our energy to replenish ourselves, just like nature does. Go to bed early, sleep in late. Stay at home instead of going out. Choose a warm, nourishing meal or a cup of tea over a cold salad and a smoothie. Change your exercise routine from intense workouts to tai chi or yoga. Reflect on your life and find stillness in the depths of the darkness.

And most importantly, slow down.

This doesn’t mean that you should hibernate in a cave all winter and wait until spring time to emerge, but it is important to “go with the flow” as they say. Tap into the natural rhythm of the season. It’s not the easiest thing to do given the chaos of the holidays, but find small ways to slow down throughout the day:

  • Stop and take a deep breath when you notice you are stressed out. Alternatively, make it a point to pause multiple times during the day: every time you get in the car, sit down to eat, go to the bathroom, or make a phone call.
  • Sit and enjoy breakfast instead of rushing out the door in the morning with a coffee in your hand.
  • Turn off your cellphone and computer in the evening and take a break from e-mails, texts, and social media.

 

This holiday season, give yourself a break. Take your time. Don’t stress about the details. Embrace the peace and stillness of the cold, dark winter.